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New at the Top: Walter Kross

Position: President and chief executive of Flight Explorer, a Fairfax-based company that provides real-time flight tracking information on the Internet. It is a newly formed spin-off of Dimensions International Inc.

Career highlights: Kross, a former U.S. Air Force four-star general, has more than 37 years of experience in global transportation. Most recently, he was partner and managing director of KPMG's global transportation practice in Atlanta. Before that, he was commander in chief of the Department of Defense, U.S.
Transportation Command at Scott Air Force Base, Ill. Previous to that, he was director for the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon. Kross was also chief operating officer of the U.S. Transportation Command during the Persian Gulf War, directing the largest transportation operation since World War II.

Age: 58

Education: BS in chemistry at Niagara University in Niagara Falls, N.Y.; MS in government at Auburn University in Auburn, Ala.; MS in public administration at Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville. As a pilot, Kross has flown more than 7,000 hours, mostly in large air cargo aircraft operations.

Personal: Lives in Fairfax with his wife, Kay.

Why the switch from a proven and larger company to a newer and smaller one?
"I'm most excited about Flight Explorer and its product. It allows me to put into practice all of the e-business practices that I have been consulting with at KPMG. Now, I get to be held accountable myself for the success of a bright, agile, adaptive technology company with a killer suite of products."

Why the need for a new company? What differentiates the two companies?
"This product, Flight Explorer, is an aircraft situation display (ASD) and associated reports. This has been developed since 1996 as a successful, profitable division of that company. However, Flight Explorer was not core within Dimension International and to be able to take this very successful product to the next level, it was prudent and appropriate to spin it off as a stand-alone company. Our product, Flight Explorer's ASD, is by far the most accepted, reliable, easiest to use and most powerful ASD that is delivered by the Internet. We have over 300 customers, including major airlines like American, United as well as FedEx, UPS and others."

How will you transfer your experience as a former Air Force four-star general to running a company?
"The leader's challenge in a commercial marketplace is the most exciting and challenging aspect of the job. To take a fledging company and transform it into a fully functional technology business is where the challenge lies. To take the core products and market them to an expanded business base -- Department of Defense, major airports, air cargo and freight industries, and the travel and leisure industry -- is our main intent."

What about financing?
"We're seeking a modest venture capital for two purposes. One is to execute our sales and marketing campaign, and second, to adapt our core product to the broader customer base."

Washington Post
Page E08
By Judith Mbuya

© 2001 The Washington Post Company
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